What's "Super Saturday" without a little controversy to get us warmed up for the big game?
Some feel that UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao was aided by Herb Dean when he stopped Urijah Faber in the main event of UFC 169: "Barao vs. Faber 2" last Saturday night (Feb. 1, 2014) inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
"The Baron" rocked Faber at least twice before lacing him with strikes on the ground, in which Faber gave a "thumbs up" to the referee to prove that he was still in it (watch the highlights here).
Still, the song remains the same, and Barao's position on the top of the mountain is nowhere near in jeopardy after defeating "The California Kid" for the second time in under two years.
Barao's Nova Uniao training parter, Jose Aldo, was also victorious last night in the co-main event, dominating Ricardo Lamas for the majority of their five-round fight. Aldo will probably relinquish the featherweight championship and challenge Anthony Pettis for the lightweight strap.
Other main card winners include Alistair Overeem beating Frank Mir, Ali Bagautinov outclassing John Lineker, and Abel Trujillo scoring a come-from-behind walk-off knockout over Jamie Varner to open up the pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast.
Before all the mixed martial arts (MMA) action unfolded inside the Octagon, there were promotional appearances to generate awareness for -- and interest in -- a trip to Newark. Fighters said this and that, answering questions galore when all they really wanted to do is be left alone and not be bothered.
MMAmania.com does a pretty good job of passing along all the noteworthy pre- and post-fight comments for each event (sample). But, as we've done before, let us look at the words that left the fighters' mouths before they stepped into the cage last weekend.
"I am really happy. I think these are the results of hard work and I am happy with all this. We will see once the fight starts. I just want to say that I have trained hard in all areas. Wrestling, boxing, muay thai and jiu-jitsu. I'm going to go in there to give my best once again."
-- That was Renan Barao before his rematch against Urijah Faber, and it's safe to say "The Baron" is outstanding in all of those areas he mentioned, proving that he is the most dangerous fighter on the planet in this very moment. Some may have not liked the stoppage; however, it was only going to get worse for "The California Kid."
"Everybody's talking about that, but that's not only up to me. Whatever they decide, I'll be ready. You never know...I've been waiting for this permission for a long time, but we never know what Andre's thinking. I hope this time he will allow me to go up."
-- Jose Aldo learned very fast that if you run something by Dana White, chances are if he likes it, it's happening. Aldo needed the permission from his coach, Andre Pederneiras, to move up to lightweight to challenge Anthony Pettis, and this was the talk that Aldo dealt with before his fight instead of focusing on Ricardo Lamas. It didn't really matter, since Aldo beat Lamas, and will now focus on Anthony "Showtime" Pettis for the time being.
"It was super unexpected to have Dana call me and offer me the opportunity to step in and fight for the UFC world championship on three weeks' notice. I've never been out of shape my whole life, I've learnt a lot of things in this world in my short time on the planet. Taking opportunities when they're given to you is something you have to do."
-- Urijah Faber is classy, professional and full of gameness. Unfortunately for him, he suffered another title defeat last night, and it couldn't have gone any worse for him. He was stopped in the first round, even though he seemed fine when Herb Dean halted the bout. That's three unsuccessful attempts at claiming gold in the UFC, and Faber will have to pile on the wins more impressively than ever before to get another chance at the belt.
"I'm a fighter, and that wasn't was I was going to do. Fighters fight...fighters keep fighting. For me, I went to Thailand to train and for me, that was a great experience. I totally recovered. As long as I can keep the pleasure in me fighting, I'm going to keep fighting."
-- Alistair Overeem was wary about the retirement talk before his bout against Frank Mir at UFC 169, and after last night's performance, he still has enough gas left in the tank to go a long way. Maybe Overeem needs a few more fights to prove his championship material worth, although fans of the "Demolition Man" should be happy that he can continue his UFC career without any worries at the moment.
"He doesn't think I'm a very good fighter, I guess. I hope he doesn't take it too harshly if I do win. I think a lot of it sounds good. I don't take it as too much of a dig on me, because being in the public eye for as long as I been now, I don't really measure my own words off of other people's words."
-- Frank Mir was accused of not being all that great of a fighter from Overeem, and although Mir is a legend of the sport, his time may have come to a close. He has now suffered four-straight defeats, including two knockouts in those defeats, and the submission expert may be forced to call it a career the next time he talks with the brass.
That's a wrap.
For complete UFC 169: "Barao vs. Faber 2" coverage, including results, recaps and video highlights, click here.